SPOILERS: Tonight’s episode of Arrow, titled “Three Ghosts,” is being discussed within.
One of the many highlights of tonight’s episode of Arrow is that after 32 episodes, Oliver Queen finally puts on a mask. At last week’s Q&A at CW Network headquarters in Burbank, Executive Producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti and Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics Geoff Johns talked about the addition that came in tonight’s show.
“A lot of conversation went into that eight inches of material,” Greg Berlanti confirmed when asked about the process that led to the introduction of the mask.
“We saw 50 or 60 different designs, and some of the earlier ones were crazy,” Kreisberg laughed. “It’s funny. It worked out really well in success. When we had the pilot, we debated having a mask, and we decided to punt, for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it was that if you put a mask on him right away, it sort of says ‘oh, this is cartoony and superhero-ey, and it also sort of fit into his character too. He wasn’t someone who ever thought he would ever be interacting with people. He thought he was going to be this dark sniper, firing arrows from the shadows, and as the series progressed and he’s stepped more and more into the light, which is also what his overall arc is, it seemed so perfect, that this season that he would need it, and also, that Barry is the one that ultimately makes it for him. It just makes the bond between those two characters,” he continued.
“I always think of the episodes as ‘The One Where… you know?’ And ‘The One Where He Gets His Mask,’ you feel like that’s such an iconic moment,” Berlanti added. “Obviously, we’ve talked a lot about the show being his transition from a vigilante to a hero. The makeup – the grease paint – was obviously coming from the island, and as it turns out, then of course we’ve put the mask on him and realized he still needs a little bit of grease paint right there! So for all of the audience members wondering ‘when does he stop and put on the makeup before he goes after the bad guys,’ he now has to put on the mask AND a little bit of makeup before he goes after the bad guys!” he laughed.
Andrew Kreisberg tells us that the mask will be seen more in the next two new episodes (the first new episode of 2014 airs January 15). “We’ve seen cuts of Episodes 10 and 11, and when you see him with the mask, it’s just so cool. It’s also just the only way he interacts with people. A lot of times, when he’s talking to somebody he knows, he’s got to keep his head down. It’s a little awkward. And now, it’s given Stephen the ability to much more freely interact with Laurel or Detective Lance as the Arrow,” Kreisberg said.
Geoff Johns sees the mask as an example of the show’s success of embracing the mythology at appropriate times. “You don’t embrace it all at once. Like Greg says, you have to build up to ‘the episode when…’ But, the greatest thing about this show as a comic fan is it does embrace the mythology. Everyone working on it embraces the mythology. It’s all going to be introduced, but it’s just a matter of ‘when’,” Johns says.
And what about when the mask is not on? A lot of people seem to be learning Oliver’s secret — are more on the way? “Everyone won’t find out,” Andrew Kreisberg promised. “I think over the course of the season, a couple more people will find out. For us, him keeping his secret identity is sort of the least interesting part of the character, and people knowing and letting him talk to people, and letting him share that experience, we find to be much more interesting. Like with Tommy. The last episodes last season, once Tommy found out, their relationship became so much more interesting, because they could talk about what was going on with them that week. While at the same time, there’s the superhero trope, and we try to preserve that, we don’t feel like our series is based on ‘oh my God, we’ve got to push off people finding out for 6 or 7 years’.”Arrow returns January 15 on The CW. Come talk about this week’s episode, “Three Ghosts,” on our forum!